Herman Cain struggles to recall details of Libya conflict

"Got all this stuff twirling around in my head," says Republican presidential hopeful.

 

 

Hot on the heels of Rick Perry's "Oops" moment (when he couldn't recall the name of the third government agency he was going to axe), Herman Cain has provided his very own YouTube hit, apparently struggling to recall what took place in Libya.

Asked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel whether he agreed with President Obama's actions in Libya, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO looked at the ceiling, shut his eyes and said "Okay, Libya," before closing his eyes for 11 seconds. After double checking with the interviewer whether Obama supported the removal of Muammar Gaddafi, he said that he disagreed with the way it was handled -- but then stopped himself, saying "No, that's a different one."

Jerry Gordon, Cain's spokesman, has defended his candidate, saying: "The video is being taken out of context. He was taking questions for about 30 to 40 minutes on four hours of sleep." But this is a poor excuse for someone hoping to be president of America.

Cain's inability to answer a direct, simple question about foreign policy has stunned many pundits. After his gaffe, Perry's poll count dropped even lower, to around 4 per cent. Cain -- already battling sexual harassment allegations -- will be hoping he does not see a similar effect.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Donald Trump's inauguration signals the start of a new and more unstable era

A century in which the world's hegemonic power was a rational actor is about to give way to a more terrifying reality. 

For close to a century, the United States of America has been the world’s paramount superpower, one motivated by, for good and for bad, a rational and predictable series of motivations around its interests and a commitment to a rules-based global order, albeit one caveated by an awareness of the limits of enforcing that against other world powers.

We are now entering a period in which the world’s paramount superpower is neither led by a rational or predictable actor, has no commitment to a rules-based order, and to an extent it has any guiding principle, they are those set forward in Donald Trump’s inaugural: “we will follow two simple rules: hire American and buy American”, “from this day forth, it’s going to be America first, only America first”.

That means that the jousting between Trump and China will only intensify now that he is in office.  The possibility not only of a trade war, but of a hot war, between the two should not be ruled out.

We also have another signal – if it were needed – that he intends to turn a blind eye to the actions of autocrats around the world.

What does that mean for Brexit? It confirms that those who greeted the news that an US-UK trade deal is a “priority” for the incoming administration, including Theresa May, who described Britain as “front of the queue” for a deal with Trump’s America, should prepare themselves for disappointment.

For Europe in general, it confirms what should already been apparent: the nations of Europe are going to have be much, much more self-reliant in terms of their own security. That increases Britain’s leverage as far as the Brexit talks are concerned, in that Britain’s outsized defence spending will allow it acquire goodwill and trade favours in exchange for its role protecting the European Union’s Eastern border.

That might allow May a better deal out of Brexit than she might have got under Hillary Clinton. But there’s a reason why Trump has increased Britain’s heft as far as security and defence are concerned: it’s because his presidency ushers in an era in which we are all much, much less secure. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.